He's destroyed New York three times — first by aliens, then by a giant lizard, and now with a massive tidal wave — but Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich swears he doesn't have a grudge against the Big Apple.
"I think New Yorkers should be proud that their town plays such a big part in so many movies," the German-born filmmaker says. "And after 9/11, I love seeing New York onscreen even more than before. We discussed beforehand whether it would be appropriate to use New York in this movie, but since it was a natural disaster we felt it would be okay. Also, we were very sensitive about what we did. For example, the Statue of Liberty would have fallen over if that much water hit it, but in the movie it remains standing."
Besides, it's not like New York is the only city that's menaced by out-of-control weather in the film. Scotland turns into an arctic wasteland, giant chunks of hail rain down on Tokyo and, most impressively, Los Angeles is torn to shreds by tornados. Emmerich admits that there were a few other locales he wanted to annihilate as well, but wasn't able to find a place for them in the finished film.
"There are only so many action scenes you can have in the first half of this movie," he explains. "On the DVD there will be a longer opening that shows some astronauts in space discovering a huge hurricane. Then you see a hurricane hunter fly into the eye of the storm. Then we cut to Hawaii and two surfers get hit by it."
Emmerich hasn't announced his next directing gig yet, but you can bet it won't be The Day After the Day After Tomorrow or even Independence Day 2. "When you are young you are excited about a sequel, but the more I think about it I don't want to do any sequels."
Thankfully, that includes a follow-up to his heavily panned 1998 update of Godzilla, which Emmerich confesses had its fair share of problems. "I promised Sony the movie for Memorial Day and I shouldn't have. It wasn't [enough] time and I now know better. In fact, the first time I saw the finished movie was at the premiere in front of 12,000 people."
He might take a break from big-budget sci-fi films altogether and turn his attention to history as he did in 2000's The Patriot. "History is a great inspiration for me," he says. "You can use visual effects to recreate past times and that forces me to study those eras. When I made The Patriot, I read so much about the American Revolution that I was lecturing people on the set."